Google releases full version of FCC’s report on company’s controversial gathering of personal data with Street View cars

The FCC has already released a portion of the report already, with heavy redaction action. Can we find out how much the FCC spends on black markers? We might have a place to cut some cash outta the budget.

Google released the full report ahead of a FOIA request filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and a lot of controversy over the car cameras and interception of a whole lot of data from wireless connections.

Google ‘inadvertently’ got private data like e-mail and text messages, passwords, Internet-usage history, and other data from unsecured wireless networks for two years or so, beginning in 2007.

Frankly, I fail to see how taking pictures from a car managed to suck up data. Guess they were doing more than just taking pictures, so how was this ‘inadvertent’? I’m anything but a tech guru, so how does an innocent camera collect all that data? None of my cameras can do a trick like that.

Google said it was the fault of a rogue engineer. The FCC thinks maybe somebody at Google could have, or should have known about the data collection

Per LA Times report:

The report points the finger at a rogue engineer who, it says, intentionally wrote software code that captured payload data information — communication over the Internet including emails, passwords and search history — from unprotected wireless networks, going beyond what Google says it intended. The engineer invoked his 5th Amendment right and declined to speak to the FCC.

But the FCC raises the question of whether engineers and managers on the Street View project did know — or should have known — that the data was being collected.

According to the FCC report: The engineer in question told two other engineers, including a senior manager, that he was collecting the payload data. He also gave the entire Street View team a copy of a document in October 2006 that detailed his work on Street View. In it, he noted that Google would be logging such data.

Well, good to know it’s not my cameras that are defective. The problem is either Google’s failure to conduct proper oversight of employees, or tendency to blame rogue employees for doing what Google has always done, collect a whole lot of data on you.

In the meantime, lock your networks. Remember, if a product doesn’t cost you anything, YOU are the product. Google is a profitable sort of enterprise.



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